As told to Brandi Lytle
With Mother’s Day near, I think it fitting to share the story of fellow childless not by choice warrior, Karen. She and her husband, Erik, endured eight years of failed infertility treatments and adoptions. Despite this heartache, Karen has fully embraced her Plan B, calling it “pretty fantastic!”
But what truly struck me about her story was this line… “I feel like all the roles that define me right now are roles that would have defined me even if I was a mother to a baby.” Wow! What an amazing revelation!
I am certain Karen’s story will inspire you as much as it did me, so I’m just going to turn it over to her…
How did you become childless not by choice? (Infertility, chance, circumstance?)
We dealt with infertility and failed adoptions for about 8 years.
I was 27 when we first started trying to get pregnant. After a year of nothing but temperature charts and negative pregnancy tests, my doctor finally looked a little closer for a problem. Initially, I was diagnosed with PCOS and given Clomid, which did nothing. Finally, I was sent to a specialist where I was diagnosed even further with fibroid tumors, endometriosis, and a uterus that was divided in half. After several IUIs, we were done with the medical approach.
So, we decided to adopt. In my heart, I really felt this was the way for us to go. After filling out mountains of invasive paperwork, having our friends write recommendations, having home visits, and spending a lot of money, we were on the list for a baby. Unfortunately, this did not go our way either. Even though we were put in touch with birth moms who chose us to raise their baby, every single birth mother changed her mind. That happened no fewer than 12 times.
After 8 years, we decided that we were happy with being Karen and Erik. We knew it was time to be done.
You are so much more than childless not by choice. Tell us about yourself!
I am a wife, daughter, dog mom, sister, favorite auntie, friend, teacher, runner, and part-time yogi. My family includes my husband of 15 years, Erik, and our sweet puppy, Ryder. I live in a fantastic neighborhood in Chicago, full of dogs, running trails, and amazing shopping and restaurants. I love to hang out with my family and friends, go to brunch, find fun, new breweries, read, watch TV shows on Bravo, take weekend trips, travel to Disney World, and laugh a lot!!
What roles are you redefining for yourself? and How are you redefining those roles?
I feel like all the roles that define me right now are roles that would have defined me even if I was a mother to a baby.
I feel like all the roles that define me right now are roles that would have defined me even if I was a mother to a baby. I’d still be a wife and the fun auntie, a runner and part-time yogi. It is almost like I had to remove “mother of a baby” from my list of roles. It wasn’t easy, and it required seeing a therapist, attending a support group, lots of journaling, and working through some pretty intense emotions. My therapist encouraged me to “twist the kaleidoscope” on how I viewed not being a mom–to focus on all the things I have, not the one thing I don’t. And what I have is pretty fun!!
Have you figured out your Plan B? If so, what is it?!
My plan B is pretty fantastic. I am embracing all that I have and look forward to the future. Erik and I moved back to Chicago after living in downstate Illinois. This was a huge step in our Plan B. Downstate, we were surrounded by families and children, as we lived in a subdivision with a good school district. We knew that moving back home to a larger city was the way to go. We live in a high-rise condo with views of Lake Michigan. Our building is full of dogs, not so much kids.
My Plan B includes having an awesome relationship with my husband, spending time with my dog, being a fun aunt, and spending time with family and friends. I think a huge perk of infertility is my marriage. Erik and I really grew together and leaned on each other during the hard times. I feel like sometimes, married people with kids seem like two ships in the night, celebrating when they get one date night a year. Every night is date night for Erik and me. Our relationship is our top priority, not who is driving a kid to soccer practice.
One struggle I have with my Plan B is with my career, as I teach. Sometimes, teaching brings me such joy. Sometimes, I am ready to try my hand at something new… Any ideas?
Fabulous one, do you have any new ideas for Karen to try? Tell her about them in the comments. Personally, I think her story would make a pretty amazing blog…
Karen, you are most definitely Creating a New plan Bravely & Courageously! You rock, girl!
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